find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
The incredible shrinking law firm

The incredible shrinking law firm

Top-tier firms are deleveraging, which spells bad news for unemployed graduates, underperforming partners and senior associates vying for partner, a professional services consultant has claimed.

Ted Dwyer (pictured), principal of Dwyer Consulting, told Lawyers Weekly that top-tier firms are shrinking. The result, he claimed, is fewer opportunities for graduates and limited partnership prospects for senior lawyers.

Firms are also becoming more ruthless about jettisoning underperforming partners, he added.

“The bottom line is major firms are getting smaller [and] they will keep high-performing partners, so they don’t go somewhere else, and only promote really exceptional senior lawyers to partnership.”

This structural change to top-tier firms may have unfortunate consequences for some, but there will also be rewards for talent, said Dwyer. Senior associates who miss out on a partnership role will be financially compensated, while two-to-four-year lawyers will be rewarded to “keep that talent in house”.

Interestingly, the trend is not a response to economic conditions, Dwyer claimed, and the expected post-election boost in corporate activity will not slow down deleveraging efforts.

Rather than make new hires to cope with the increased workflow, top-tier firms will expect their lawyers to work harder, he added.

“I remain bullish about a recovery in the market [but] this does not mean that there will be a recovery in the jobs market in the profession.”

Lawyers Weekly exclusively reported last month that the Melbourne offices of Allens, Baker & McKenzie, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, Lander & Rogers and Slater & Gordon hired less than half, and in some cases less than a quarter, of their clerks that were vying for a 2014 graduate position.

A national recruiter, who is receiving dozens of phone calls each week from graduates struggling to find a job, described it as “the worst time in living history to be a law graduate”.

Dwyer added: “There is no doubt the market is flooded with resumes at the moment.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

The incredible shrinking law firm
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...